Comprehending Medjugorje : Original Documents And Conversations with Arnaud Dumouch

The duration of the apparitions

Reference (French Edition) :
Daria Klanac, Comprendre Medjugorje : Regard historique et théologique, avec la collaboration du théologien Arnaud Dumouch, Informativni centar Mir, Medjugorje, en coédition avec les Éditions Sakramento, Paris, 2012, 2e éd. (1re éd. 2008, ISBN 978-2-915380-19-4 & 978-9958-36017-6), entretien avec le théologien Arnaud Dumouch, pages 120 à 122.
English Translation by Duško Čondić


The duration of the apparitions

Daria Klanac : From June of 1981, in the Croatian parish of Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, something uncommon is occurring: the daily apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Is not the duration of these apparitions for the last twenty-eight years a serious objection to their authenticity?

Arnaud Dumouch : Not at all. This is not a canonical sort of argument; rather, it is a subjective impression. The same holds true for the constant repetition and the childlike nature of the messages. The nature of every apparition is specific and singular. If we examine similar judgements of apparitions that have been approved by the Church, this is what we find:

– For the apparitions that took place in Bac Street in Paris, the theologians had doubts about them as though the Virgin could not reveal her heart to be equally great as the Heart of Christ.

– As to the apparitions in Salette, the theologians doubted since the Virgin could not announce hunger, or stand on a branch and weep.

– For the apparitions in Lourdes, they thought it unsuitable for the Virgin to appear in a cave that was close-by to a pig sty. Others said that the Virgin (as a person) named herself with an idea (Immaculately conceived).

In short, every apparition astonishes and is un-renewable

D. Klanac : The visionaries asked the Virgin about the duration of the apparitions. Based on the questions posited the first days, (6th and 7th days), we note two contradictory answers: “As long as you like,” and “three days.”[11]

A. Dumouch : This strange sentence in and of itself, cannot serve as the criterion of judgement. So as to grasp this, let us make use of the example of Lourdes. The Virgin asserts: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Had Lourdes not been recognized by the Church, we would today say: “That assertion is a gross theological error: the Virgin cannot be identical to some idea.” Nonetheless, the apparition has been recognized. Theologians find very deep and disturbing meaning in that assertion.

In the same manner, it applies to Medjugorje: if one day the apparitions are recognized, the theologians will view that assertion as being positive and will say, no doubt, as they said of the strange sentence from Lourdes, that it means, for example (roughly speaking) that the main message will last another three days, and that subsequently the Virgin will simply repeat it in the same manner that a good mother repeats. Or else, that the Virgin will appear for another three symbolic days (days of trial for the Church) and up to the Good Friday of the Church (her entrance into her days of passion as exemplified by her Lord.) Therefore, let us wait.

D. Klanac : Many people consider the impressive number of apparitions in Medjugorje to be strange, as well as the fact that the Virgin follows the visionaries wherever they go. What is the theological clarification of that manifestation?

A. Dumouch : The number of apparitions is not an objection, (either in a positive or negative sense). The words of the Old Testament prophets are often of that type: long texts, repetitions, enigmatic meanings. Occasionally, as in the Book of Jona, Heaven has nothing to say.

The translocation of the apparitions to wherever the visionaries happen to be is a manifestation that has been confirmed multiple times in both the Old and New Testaments. For example, after His resurrection, Christ appears far and wide even though He frequently said He would appear in Galilee. This is entirely logical: apparitions are directed to human viewing and not to some specific place.

D. Klanac : Can the Virgin simultaneously appear at various sites to a larger group of visionaries, each of whom, on his part, sees her at the same moment?

A. Dumouch : Yes. That is a special charism (translocation in multiple places at the same time), given by God to Saints in Heaven (and, at times, to Saints here on Earth, such as Saint Martin of Porres, who, even though he lived in a monastery in South America, saved many from being shipwrecked in the Mediterranean.) That charism, given by God, is very important at the moment of death, when Christ and the Saints await many dying souls at the same time. This charism implies the direct power of God since it transcends the natural law which holds that every physical body can only be found in one place. In the case of Medjugorje, this charism will not be sufficient for the final determination by the Church since it can easily be repeated by forces not of God (by way of difference to miracles, such as instantaneous cures.)


11. Cf. « Encore trois jours seulement », Medjugorje, réponses aux objections, p. 81. [↩]